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Coyotes Lose Chance For Home Ice, Will Face Sharks or Wings in First Round

Really, all that matters stemming from the disappointing 3-1 loss the Phoenix Coyotes suffered at the hands of the San Jose Sharks last night is that the Coyotes will not have home ice advantage in the first round. A single point would have done the trick, but the bounces weren't going the Coyotes' way and Antti Niemi played solidly to rob a few golden opportunities.

The biggest problem for the Coyotes though is the PK continues to struggle as they allowed San Jose to score both the game winner and the insurance on the power play with plays down low in front of Ila Bryzgalov that left him with little chance to make the save. In each instance, a shot or pass got blocked and ended up on the stick of a Sharks player (Joe Pavelski for the first; Logan Couture for the latter) and they beat Bryz for the goals.

The Coyotes lone goal came on a great rush up ice by Lauri Korpikoski who roofed one past Niemi midway through the third to cut the Sharks lead to 2-1. Another Coyotes goal was waived off when the net came off its moorings just before the Coyotes could bang home a rebound.

The highlight of the night, regardless, was Ilya Bryzgalov's diving save to rob Joe Thornton on the final power play (even though the Sharks still later scored).

Now the Coyotes sit back and wait to see if Chicago passes them to take the 6th spot. Any win by the Blackhawks will give them 6 and force the Coyotes into 7th position and a first round match-up with the Sharks. Any Chicago loss will keep them behind the Coyotes and give Phoenix a rematch with the Red Wings to avenge last year's first round defeat.

We had a crazy house full of folks so I don't have my typical long winded recap and I'm too tired and slightly frustrated to dig into all the other stuff. Coyotes are heading to the playoffs and that's all that matters. Be it San Jose or Detroit, they have a good chance to win this series if they play their style...once the match-ups are set, we'll have full previews and regular season recaps to get you ready for White Out 2011...I'm also guessing we'll be seeing a few changes around here any day now.